The First Step in Building Your Art Licensing Brand


You may find this hard to believe, but most of the artwork that’s sent to me for review could have been painted by anyone.

If the art hadn’t come in a package or attached to an email from a particular artist, I wouldn’t have a clue who the artist was who created the images that I’m looking at.

Strange?  Actually, it’s extremely common.

Never Forget To Sign Your Artwork

You see, many artists just plain forget to sign their works.

Sometimes they’re in a big rush to get the work finished and send it out.

Other times artists are reluctant to sign work that they plan to present to manufacturers for commercial use.

I’ve been to lots of art shows, and even there, I find lots of paintings that have no name on them.

Don’t Be Shy

It’s almost as if the artist doesn’t want to have his or her name intrude on an image that will become part of the buyer’s home décor.

Or that if an image is going to appear on a product, then having their name in the image will lessen the appeal of the final product.

Let’s throw those ideas out the window right now.

Build Your Brand

If you want to make your name known in art licensing so that manufacturers and consumers recognize your work by name and know who to come to for more, then it’s time to learn how and where to sign your work.

Some well-known artists like Mary Engelbreit and Debbie Mumm have very cute and engaging hand-painted logo’s that they’ll use on each image.

Their names are clear, colors are bright, and everything fits in a small rectangle that’s attractive and adds to the presentation.

Graphic Logo Versus Simple Signature

You can try this route if you like and if you’re able to create a pretty piece of graphic art, but it isn’t necessary and most successfully-licensed artists don’t do it.  A simple signature is sufficient.

Your first step is a mental one.

Are you sufficiently satisfied with your work to put your name on it?  If you are, then don’t be shy.

Put your name on the image so that everyone will see it and know who painted it.

How The Art Gets Handled

Unless you happen to be extremely lucky, the image that you license to a manufacturer will undoubtedly be cropped to exactly the outer dimensions that the manufacturer uses for its products.

If a manufacturer plans to use the same piece of art on three or four completely different products, then you can expect your artwork to be cropped in three of four different ways so it can fit on those products.

Artists who sign their name in teeny little letters in the lower corner of each image are far more likely to have their names cropped out of the final art that appears on the licensed product.

Make Your Name Easy To Read

So let’s make that unlikely.  Purchase a Sharpie fine-point pen and use that to sign your artwork.

Be sure to put your signature in a place where your name just can’t be cropped out without seriously hurting the image.

The trick is to print your name as you want to be known – for example, you can be Betty Jones or B. Jones, whichever you prefer – and write it along a line inside the image itself.  Pretty blatant?  Well, not really.

If your signature is clear, readable, black and small, it won’t distract from the artwork and everyone who sees it will know who painted it.

Name Recognition Is Essential to Getting Ahead

That can make the difference in continued success through name recognition down the road, and help build a following for your art and bring you more licenses.

After all, if people don’t know who painted that image, they won’t know whose work to ask for.

And that won’t help you get ahead.

So be sure to sign every image that you create.

It’s the first step in building the name recognition that will help you on the road to success in art licensing.

More hints are on our site – always worth checking out!

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(c) Lance J. Klass.  All Rights Reserved.  This article may not be reproduced with the expressed written permission of the author. 

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